Tag Archives: Short Story Writing

Uh, Hellooo?! by Dennis De Rose

Thank you, author and editor Dennis De Rose for sharing this flash-fiction inspired by this Visual Writing Prompt below. I’m happy to be sharing your story here! It’s awesome!

This will be Part 1 of a flash fiction series that Dennis will be sharing here!

Dennis is happy to hear any feedback so comments are welcome!

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Greetings, it’s so nice to see you again. Please take a seat. The staff will be right with you. I am here to assist you if you’ll allow me to help. I will gladly guard your things while you wait. No one will touch anything… I guarantee it. …Uh, hellooo. Thank you for keeping me busy. Your things will be here when you are done.

I remember the old olden days. People seemed more personable. They talked to those sitting next to them while they waited for the man to help them. The little ones played quietly with each other in the corner. It was so quiet and peaceful. There was no loud talking picture box hanging from the wall. The lighting was softer, no harsh bright tubes to disturb my contemplations. The young lady, she always wore a white pointy hat and she was so nice to me, dusting me every day. Her cloth made me joyful as she tended to me. Oh the old days…

Hello madam, do come in. Don’t forget to close the door. Take your time, there are plenty of seats. Mind your step, may I hold your coat and cane for you. I have a special hook reserved for canes and other walking devices. Uh, hellooo!

Her cane and jacket rested on my upper left hook. Before I forget, let me tell you a true story. I remember the day I was brought here and placed in this very spot. I have been standing here for many years but I cannot tell you how many. It seems like forever. I think I remember standing in another location, a run-down dusty second-hand store. But I wasn’t alone, surrounded on all sides by other wooden contraptions. There was so much dust, it was hard to breathe.

My mind wanders sometimes. I am getting off-track. Where was I? Oh yes, the day I was brought here. Oh that bumpy ride, traveling in the back with all the other stuff. A man dressed in dirty clothes carried me inside; he almost dropped me. His hands felt greasy and his breathe smelled like old paper. The delivery man leaned me against a wall as he walked over to collect his commission. I even remember the young man dressed in white handing him a one-dollar bill.

The next morning an older heavy-set lady, also dressed in white, placed me gently in one corner. I remember looking at her, wondering what was on her mind. Next thing you know she picked me up and placed me in the opposite corner…

Oh, hello little girl. Hello Mom. I was just reminiscing about days gone by. Welcome to our helpful office. How may I help you today? Feel free to use me as you see fit. I see you have a little dolly in your hand. You may place her on my shelf, the one near the floor. I will guard it with my life! Uh, hellooo little girl; hello Mom!! The little girl smiled and looked at me as she sat her doll on my bottom shelf. The mother hung her coat on one of my hooks.

… Back to my story, the lady stopped what she was doing when a funny-looking black thing made a ringing noise. She actually walked over to it, picked up a piece of it and started talking to it. I laughed so hard, I thought she had lost her marbles. She glanced over at me, I wonder if she heard me cackling. A minute later, the lady stopped talking to the black thing and walked back over to me; she was carrying a rag in one hand and a glass jar in the other.

I’ll never forget that day. The lady began to rub me lightly, removing every speck of dust from my body. I was dust-free for perhaps the first time in my life. She looked me over, smiling at what she saw. Next, she applied this smelly stuff and rubbed me real hard. I felt renewed as she rubbed me harder and harder, faster and faster. When she finished, I was jubilant. Ah, to be young again…new and shiny!

But time moves on, even for me. The first lady grew older and older. One day, a new lady rubbed me lightly with a new cloth. It was nice; she did that almost every day but with much less enthusiasm. The man who helped everyone grew old as well, but at least he used me from time-to-time. He never talked to me like the old lady did. I noticed him moving slower and slower, sitting in a wooden chair, trying to catch his breath. Waking up the next day, I noticed a young man dressed in similar white entering through the door. I tried to talk to him but he was looking at the tired old man. As the day progressed…

Good day, young man. Do come in and welcome to the office. May I assist you with your rain wear? Feel free to place it on one of my hooks. What is that made of, not cloth I see. It is dripping all over the floor. I suggest you hang it on me. Uh, hellooo there, hey!

Oh well, at least I have his wet cap on my hook. How loud can I shout without disturbing the others? So, where was I? Ah, now I remember, the younger man. I couldn’t help thinking how much he looked like the older man. He even sat and crossed his legs like the older one, swinging one leg back-and-forth when he talked. A few days later, I saw him but I never saw the old man again. I liked the old one because he hung his hat and coat on me and he often took a moment just to tug on my hook. It felt nice to be used, to feel useful by him and others in the room. The man made some changes to the room: new chairs not made of wood; mirrors were hung here and there; flowers that were no longer real (Yuk!). I just remembered the oddest thing, the day the black talking boxes were replaced with yellow and blue ones. I heard music coming through the walls. It was like magic and I almost felt like dancing the Lindy.

Sir, please come in. You look cold. Let me take your heavy coat. May I suggest sitting by the heat register in the far corner. I noticed the heavy snow when you opened the door, and the wind, wow! Are you sure you won’t let me hold your coat? No one will touch it. Please? Uh, hellooo sir, look at me!

Many years have gone by since the day I heard the invisible music maker. The people have changed drastically. I think they have forgotten how to talk to each other, sitting like zombies tapping on little boxes and talking to tiny machines that talk back. The kids do the same thing, only more frequently. People seem to be rushing here and there, as if the world is going to end tomorrow. The staff, now there are three girls and one guy, they rush around and spend time tapping on thin desk-top things that beep incessantly. The man in white has been replaced by a helpful young man dressed in a casual shirt and a nice pair of pants. The peace and quiet I recall fondly has been dashed by a talking picture box hanging from a hook on the far wall. I see it every minute of my long day, every day.

Everything in the room has changed, but not me. I have stood in this same spot day-in and day-out, ready to help when needed. Over the years my load has grown lighter and lighter. I have become a dusty ignored relic, the last vestige of days long gone. I am no longer dusted or rubbed; oh, how I wish for that again. Only the occasional breeze will release me from my dusty burden. My bones have grown weak and shaky. My voice is nearly mute; my hearty yell is but a whisper…

Wait, I think I see a little girl and her mom walking in. They are both wearing light spring jackets but what’s the use of talking, trying to get their attention, offering my help for the millionth time. The little girl has something cradled in her arm. It looks like an antique doll, in fact it looks like that same doll I saw those many years ago when I was young and strong. I am in luck; they are sitting very close to me. I wonder if I can, one last time. They are going into the man’s room next. I better gather my strength. …Little girl?

“Mommy, did you see that? See that wooden thing with the funny wire things hanging on it? I just saw one of them move all by itself.”

“Dear, it was probably just the wind.”

“Hello mam and hello little one, please follow me.”

The little girl looked at her mom, then back at me. Walking over to me, she tugged on my hook and placed her precious dolly lovingly on my bottom shelf.

Thank you, little girl!

The End

copyright© 2021 Dennis De Rose

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Dennis is a wonderful storyteller and a good friend. See below for links to his other writing and his editing business.

Steampunk Tea Served Cold by Dennis De Rose

Thank you, author and editor Dennis De Rose for responding to last Wednesday’s Visual Writing Prompt. I’m happy to be sharing your story here! Dennis happy to hear any feedback so comments are welcome!

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“Opa, can you tell me a bedtime story? I’ve had a grueling day and I’m all keyed up.”

“Mikey, how can a six-year-old have a grueling day and be keyed up?”

“Opa, age has nothing to do with it. I need your help. Dad told me I had to be asleep in twenty minutes. I was already tensed up and now look at my fingernails. Opa, my life is a roller-coaster. And you’re the only one can make the ride as smooth as pudding.”

“Mikey, I love your analogies.”

“Opa, please, I don’t care about allergies. I need to relax and you know it only works with you.” Analogies and allergies, close enough…

“OK Mikey, get under the covers and let me turn the lights down. Let me think for a second. Are you ready for a hum-dinger? You want happy or scary?”

“Opa, remember, I am almost seven. I can handle anything. But Opa, don’t turn those lights down all the way. You know how I get. Before you start, what’s the title? You know the title has to come first.”

“How right you are Mikey. This story is entitled Steampunk Tea. When I was little, just about your age or a little older… I’ll never forget one bitter cold winter night…”

“Stop Opa, you know what I have to ask you?” I shook my head. “What in the world is steampunk?”

“Steampunk is something that takes place in the past; you know history, when a lot of machines were run by steam, before electricity, with elements of science fiction thrown in for good measure.”

Well, I kinda get it but it’s a little foggy. Like Star Trek but before the electric light was invented which must have been hundreds of years ago.” I patted Mikey on the head.

“… I thought I heard a noise in my closet. I woke up out of a sound sleep. Next thing you know I saw a big shadow by the closet door so I high-tailed it under my bed, grabbing my blanket and pillow in case I needed to build a fort. I knew the corner was the safest place to be. This wasn’t my first rodeo. But when I leaned up against it, the corner felt funny, like a sponge…”

“Wait Opa, when did you go to a rodeo?”

“Mikey, I’ve never been to a rodeo. When I said ‘not my first rodeo’ I meant I had been under the bed many times. It’s just an expression.”

Oh, OK, I’ve been to that rodeo too. I’ll have to remember that. Let me place that in my memory bank.” I just smiled and continued.

“… Next thing you know the sponge wall sucked me in and threw me out the other side. But I was lucky. I landed on a trampoline and I was dressed all warm and toasty.”

“A trampoline, Opa, are you making this up as you go along? This story sounds fishy to me.”

“Mikey, I swear I am telling the truth. This is for real. Now, where was I. So, there was a pretty girl standing next to the gadget, like she was expecting me.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

“Hey, boy, where did you come from?” After I stopped bouncing, I got a good look at her. I could tell she was older than me. Her long red hair was tied up with pink ribbons; her cheeks were red probably from the cold.

I sat on the edge of the contraption just looking around, trying to get a sense of my unreal surroundings. It was dark, cold and foggy to beat the band. Looking over my shoulder, I saw four giant blinking teapots, each one sitting atop four huge spaceship-like legs on rubber wheels. My mouth fell open, my eyes grew large and I started to shake. It was hard to breathe.

The girl stamped her foot to get my attention. “Boy, I asked you a question. What’s your name and where did you come from?”

After she helped me down, I calmed down and answered her questions. “My name’s Dennis and I’m from New Holland, Michigan. And to answer your next question I don’t know how I got here. I was under my bed one second and bouncing on that thing the next.”

She looked at me and shrugged her shoulders. I didn’t know what that meant so I just stood there, waiting. “Come with me and I’ll show you around. Don’t be afraid. By the way, my name’s Carla and I’m almost eleven. Follow me.”

Carla grabbed my hand and all of sudden I didn’t feel the cold and I stopped shaking. Walking toward the lights, the teapot structures grew clearer and I saw people walking back-and-forth, talking to their neighbors. There were old bikes scattered about. The people were dressed funny. Some of the men wore cowboy hats, dungarees and heavy cotton work coats. The women wore bonnets, funny long hoop skirts and heavy wool shawls. The four teapots were tethered and each one had a metal ladder going from bottom to top. Walking closer, I dared to touch the hollow leg of the first teapot.

Carla grabbed my other hand. “Don’t touch that; you’ll burn yourself. Each pot is propelled by a steam engine located at the top, in the lid. Steam is forced to the wheels under high pressure. We are one of the clans, the Tea clan, and we move from place to place trading with other clans. This is our pot. Stay here while I talk to my Ma and Pa.”

I stood there listening to people speaking a language I had never heard before and watching kids playing some sort of tag game, running around the legs and wheels from one structure to the next.

Carla tapped me on the shoulder and my hair stood on end. “What’s wrong, breathe.” She smiled and her eyes lit up. “I asked Ma and Pa if you could stay with us for a while until we can figure out how to get you home again. Climb up but be careful. I will be right behind you. Take your time.”

We climbed up and through a door, but not any door I’d ever seen; there was no doorknob and it wasn’t on hinges. The door was made of a thin rubbery self-sealing material. “What the blazes is that? And it’s warm in here.”

“We traded for that new door stuff. My Pa tried to explain it to me but it’s too technical. I’ll figure it out later, he told me. The heat is forced down through vents in the ceiling. This is the second floor. Did you notice the bottoms of the kettles glowed red? Each home has a coal bin at the back; the coal is fed by conveyor belt to the fire pot. The bottom floor is a little warmer. We’re lucky the floor is heavily insulated. Oh, I forgot to tell you to take off your shoes and those thin socks.”

“Carla, my feet get cold easy. What am I going to wear?”

“Here, I have an extra pair of wooden shoes and heavy wool socks. We all wear wooden shoes. How do they feel? If you like them you can keep them.”

“You know, they feel very comfortable and my feet are toasty. Usually my feet are cold even wearing my heaviest socks. Thank you.”

“Would you like something to eat and drink? The cold always makes me hungry. We have some goat cheese, some homemade black bread and iced tea in the cooler.” I was getting sleepy so I just shook my head. “I have to go downstairs. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

We sat together at a low table in the center of the room. “Denny, how do you like the meal? I know it’s not much…”

I looked up from my plate. Carla had surprised me. No one had ever called me Denny. “I never had goat cheese or black bread but I like it. The cold tea reminds me of home. Say, something has been bugging me. How come you can speak English but everyone else speaks a different language?”

“I speak English because you do. I cannot explain that. It’s like I’ve always known English. My parents and their friends speak Dutch.” I tried to wrap my mind around that but like other things I’d seen, I just couldn’t figure it out.

“Say, Carla, I’m kind of tired. Is there someplace I can rest for a bit? We can work on me getting home tomorrow.” Carla nodded and guided me to a darkened section of the room divided into three heavy-curtained bedrooms.

“Here, this is the extra bed. Sometimes I have a friend over. Tonight you are my friend.” I had never seen a featherbed before. As I lay down she helped me remove the wooden shoes but the wool socks were so warm I decided to keep them on. She placed a light blanket over me as she bent down and kissed me on the cheek. I never heard her parents come in.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

“Mikey, when I opened my eyes I was cozy in my own bed still wearing the same cloths.”

“Opa, do you expect to believe that wild story? I mean, I loved the story but…”

“Well, Mikey, you don’t have to believe me but look under your bed.”

Mikey’s eyes grew as big as saucers. “A Pair of old wooden shoes and heavy wool socks! Opa, I can’t believe it. How…?”

“That’s for you to decide. But they’re yours now if you want them.”

A tear rolled down his cheek. “Opa, you can turn the light off now and thanks for everything.”

I kissed him on the cheek. He smiled at me and gave me a big hug. The door closed with the softest click.

copyright© 2020 Dennis De Rose

LINE BLACK copy

Dennis is a wonderful storyteller and a good friend. See below for links to his other writing and his editing business.

Tools to Get You Started with NaNoWriMo

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Today is the official start of NaNoWriMo! Are you ready? Well not to worry, I have a few extras to help get you off to a great start!

See Below…


What is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo is a worldwide event and contest that takes place every year in the month of November. The organization sponsors a website where you can join the event, commit to writing at least a 50,000 word novel over the 30 days of November, track your progress, get access to pep talks and support, and meet fellow writers. You earn badges as you progress and can even start a sponsor page where your friends and family can sponsor your writing.

You write your novel using your own materials: on your preferred word-processing program, by hand, by typewriter, etc. All writers at any stage are welcome. Outlines, character sketches, and other planning steps are encouraged. Just be sure to only count words written during the month. Your novel is fully protected!

See below for links to sign up!


What Do You Win if You Win?

You win NaNoWriMo by writing 50,000 words of your novel between November 1 and November 30. There’s no limit on how many people can win! Just be sure that you’ve validated your 50,000-word novel by turning it in anytime between November 20th and November 30th at 11:59 pm.

You will still win if you reach your goal but have not yet “completed” your novel. Keep writing! What you win is the satisfaction that you’ve completed a novel in thirty days and a collection of Wrimo-only offers from righteous companies who donated to NaNoWriMo in 2016.

Over 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published.


Some Tips

  • Take risks with your writing.
  • Drink coffee. A lot of coffee.
  • Make a playlist to be your novel-writing soundtrack.
  • The first week is easier than the second week
  • Lower your standards for household cleanliness. You can clean in December.
  • If you are stuck for finding a quiet place in your house to write, try the bathroom. People rarely interrupt when you’re in the bathroom.
  • Back up your work; emailing pages to yourself is a good option.
  • Don’t edit what you’ve already written – keep moving forward.
  • Take occasional breaks while writing to step outside.
  • Reward yourself for work completed
  • Don’t give up.

Some Great Advice


Some Downloadable PDF’s


Some Awesome Resources


NaNoWriMo Link

NaNoWriMo Sign-Up

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) believes stories matter. The event began in 1999, and in 2005, National Novel Writing Month became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. NaNoWriMo’s programs now include National Novel Writing Month in November, Camp NaNoWriMo, the Young Writers Program, Come Write In, and the “Now What?” Months.


Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

wvwp-025bWednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

Challenge

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dared go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours. You are a storyteller so this will be a breeze.

Maybe you could use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing. Maybe you could start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog. A picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered.

The Rules

There aren’t really many rules, just enough to get your blog some attention and get new people interested in your writing or the current book you have to offer.

  • Write in any genre you like – poetry too
  • Tag this post in your post (share this post to your WordPress blog as a new post) so I can find you (it will ping back to this post), then I can check out your work, and promote you on my social sites. Or share your response to the writing challenge in the comments section below.
  • You have until the following Tuesday to complete this writer’s prompt, then I will be posting a new one on the following day, next Wednesday.

If you have any suggestions for future Wednesday Visual Writing Prompts, please let me know in the comments:-)

I look forward to reading your writing.

(if you post past the deadline I will do my best to read your work and share it on my social networks as time permits).

Have Fun!

A Flash Fiction Competition

contest

What are you writing?

All entries eligible for paid print publication.


DETAILS

Short Shorts Flash Fiction Competition is open to all new, emerging, and established writers.

They seek flash fiction of 500 words or less.

Multiple entries, simultaneous submissions, and previously published works permitted.*

Accepting entries between November 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017

Grand Prize winning entry, and Runners Up to be announced within 60 days of closing.

GRAND PRIZE

$250 and publication in the 2017 issue of From the Depths.

Featured Author Interview to accompany published work.

RUNNERS UP

All entries eligible for publication in the 2017 issue of From the Depths.

Contributors to be paid $20 for each published story.

Featured Author Interview showcased online at Haunted Waters Press.

SUBMISSIONS

All entries accepted via Submittable.

$10 reading fee per entry.

*Multiple Entries, Simultaneous Submissions & Previously Published Works…

  • Up to three works of flash fiction per entry. Multiple entries permitted.
  • Previous online publication is fine, but entries must not have appeared in print. Please be certain there are no known copyright restrictions. Please provide publication details for all previously published works. Questions? Contact us prior to submitting.
  • Simultaneous submissions are permitted. Please notify us if your work is accepted for publication elsewhere. Entries with conflicting publication rights are no longer eligible. Entry fees are nonrefundable.

Read More or Enter…